Balang David Brian

Barlangu (Shark), 2022

32 × 120 cm
Barlangu (shark) is one of the most important ancestors for Balngarra clan. During the creation period, barlangu travelled with barrangu (Saratoga). It journeyed from Yirrkala in east Arnhem Land and transformed into a rock at Malnjangarnak, which is also called bulmaji (hammerhead shark). Barlangu shares a song line with wankurr, a sacred mardayin ceremonial dilly bag and also kunkaninj (digging stick), which is used to dig yams. These totemic ancestors are all duwa moiety and share the same songline. Barlangu connects coastal and inland country. “It’s the same saltwater from the Blyth River to Kinoedjanga”, Balang explains. “It can be really dangerous to get too close to that water. If you’re in a plane or boat, it’ll suck up that water and try and kill you. You must always go around.” Text courtesy of Aboriginal Signature with the courtesy of the artist & Maningrida Arts

Balang David Brian is a painter and sculptor. He is Rembarrnga and Kune and lives and works at his outstation Ankabarrbirri. Brian learned under the guidance of his parents, renowned artists Kamarrang Bob Burruwal and Godjan Lena Yarinkura. 

He specialises in making mako (didjeridu) and more recently bark painting. Whilst Brian has developed his own approach and distinct style, the influence of his father and uncle, Les Mirrikkyriya, is evident in his colour palette and designs. Common motifs in his works include yok (bandicoot), man-ngalinj (bush potato), quicksand at Kinoedjanga, barlangu (shark) and wankurr (sacred dilly bag). 

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